Posts filed under People

Creative. Professional. Goals.

Why did you start in your chosen creative field? Did you know someone that did graphic design? Maybe it was a cool illustrator, graphic novelist, game designer, or perhaps you were just the only person in the room that liked watching the commercials. Whatever the reason, it's essential to hold on to those things that made this career fun, inspiring and gives you a little emotional high when doing it.

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I'm not here to tell you what that "thing" is, or is not. What I am here to tell you is that you can't leave that thing behind or the spark will surely stay with it. This is why I do a fair amount of work at low-2-no-cost to [some] of my clients. With that comes a great sense of freedom in that I can explore and push the boundaries of my services as much as time, and my creative throughput will muster.

Enter Ferrelle Surette – at the dawn of Instagram I stumbled upon his images and quickly was enthralled with the honesty of the images. Almost a decade ago I wrote an article that featured a slew of folks that I felt really embraced this little square medium.

Since that time I've befriended Ferrelle, and we've become fast friends — watching our daughters grow up and sharing a love for giving back. He found his path in that time was to take bikes people intended to through away, recycle them, and then give them away. Since that time, I helped him brand "Recycled Cycles of Texas" – we've done all kinds of swag but nothing formal like a website. So I'm truly excited to launch his project as my project.

So if you want to do me a solid, throw a couple of dollars his way, tell that dirty hooker I sent you too — you'll be doing more, for people with less, than most.

Posted on August 12, 2019 and filed under Brand, Business, Photography, People.

The Care & Feeding of Creative Professionals – Part 2

What are some of the common mistakes that you see people who seek a career in any of these fields make as they pursue that career?

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  • We often assume that something was done by someone else. Make no mistake, if we think something's done and we can start something new – it's dead to us. 

  • We only like our creative [in the moment]; long creative projects will make creatives very unhappy.
    We don't want to dress up, our office is a mess, and we always want the latest gear, tools, fonts, apps, etc. But we're afraid of using them because that creates change, and we fear change. We're overly protective of the creative we make – the byproduct of the creative process is like making a child, or a 'thing' we have a passion for. 

  • Therefore, we'll needlessly defend it and often aggravate the client in the process. Moreover, make sure that within the creative practice you do the 'holy trinity' regarding concepts

    1) EXACTLY what the client asked for.

    2) Use the client's request as a basis for the creative but feel free to take strong liberties with it.

    3) A total wildcard idea that's completely unexpected and something the creative will enjoy doing.

  • We want to be humble but we also want positive affirmation for our efforts. 

  • Creatives are not morning people. 

  • A sense of "play" is important. Treating them too ‘adult’ can be counter productive.

  • Timelines are important.

  • While clients are not always right, we need them to believe they are.

  • When a creative asks you to see something (even if it's not completed) they usually DON'T want constructive criticism, they want to be petted. That said, start with "I like what you've done ..." and ease into the suggestion process.

  • We have problem finishing designs — we think "Has it (the design) been pushed far enough? Could it be better? What needs to change?" Often convincing that "if we add too much more it could kill it", will get them to settle.

  • Creatives SUCK at time tracking. Give them tools and techniques to clock-in and out of projects. Monitor this properly as we often drift from one directive to another, having come up with awesome addition (of course), but we'll virtually never stop to splice time.

  • Keep them caffeinated.

The Care & Feeding of Creative Professionals – Part 1

Recently I was asked: What are some of the common mistakes that you see people who seek a career in any of these fields make as they pursue that career?

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Some of the common mistakes that I've seen in my career are usually attention to detail(s). Proofreading a print advertisement, submitting an order amount wrong, or typos on presentation decks.

You will come to find that creative people share similar traits, this is a generalization to be sure, but there's a likelihood you'll find one if not more in most marketing professionals:

Many of us have ADHD, this is not figuratively speaking, a lot of us do. Diagnosed or not. Knowing this will allow you to coat the next following list:

  • The biggest shit-storm one can create is to have a vague, or non-existent, creative brief. Creatives are just that — CREATIVE. A creative brief should give, at least the initial idea, and some parameters to reign in their thought process initially. (e.g. If the client has a brand standards manual, fonts, specified voice or defined goal objective) During the creative process of the 'client-only' edition of the project, we more often than not, come up with a slew of new ways to shape the original concept.

  • We get distracted. Allow us to listen to music, background noise, or whatever allows us to get "in the zone." Busy agencies that create atmospheres of account executives (AEs) or related, consistently asking your creatives questions will delay the completion of a project and in many cases, the creative will suffer.

  • We're slow to do the jobs we HAVE to do and ATTACK the jobs we want to do. We often have pissing contests over who got what project.

  • We are terrible spellers (as I write this in Grammarly) – check our shit, again and again. Of course, it's important to remember that your creative IS NOT your proofing person.

  • On tasking: checklists will help. Daily huddles will help as well, as long as we hear what we want to hear and forget the rest (see jobs we HAVE to do above).

  • Most of us suck at math. Give us the sizes of the ad! Tasking us to research this is like throwing money away.

  • Remind us, again and again on the due dates. This is why daily huddles are beneficial.

What are your favorite truths about creatives?